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Synchronous Distance Learning for Undergraduate Thermal Engineering Courses: Trials and Improvements

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering: Trends and Tools

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1224.1 - 25.1224.15



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Paper Authors


Amanie N. Abdelmessih Saint Martin's University Orcid 16x16

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Amanie Abdelmessih is professor and Chair, Mechanical Engineering Department, and Director of the Thermal Engineering Laboratory, Saint Martin’s University. Abdelmessih has industrial, teaching, and research experience. Abdelmessih started her career in the paper industry, then she taught in several higher education institutions, with the last 15 years at Saint Martin’s University. Abdelmessih has performed research at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Marshall Space Flight Research Center, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She has received a total of five certificates of recognition for her research contributions at NASA. Also, she has received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey. Puget Sound Engineering Council awarded her the Academic Engineering of the year in 2005, and the Society of Women Engineers awarded her the 2009 Distinguished Engineering Educator. Abdelmessih is a member of five engineering societies. and she is nationally and internationally active with a couple of these technical societies, where she is currently a track organizer for the 2012 Heat Transfer Conference. She is also a member of several honor societies, including the Society of Fellows and Pi Tau Sigma. Abdelmessih’s areas of research are mixed convection, heat exchangers, high temperature calibrations, and absorption.

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Irina Gendelman Saint Martin's University

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Synchronous Distance Learning For Undergraduate Thermal Engineering Courses Trials, Assessments, and ImprovementsDistance learning has found wide spread use in numerous disciplines. The authors are not awareof attempts to teach synchronous (live interactive) distance learning in undergraduate thermalengineering courses. Probably due to the mathematical nature, and numerous new conceptscovered in courses such as Heat Transfer, this course is not considered the easiest, though it isone of the most valuable undergraduate engineering courses in Mechanical EngineeringPrograms. An attempt to teach Heat Transfer live interactively for an extension program at thesame time it was taught in the main campus has been tried. The extension program has beendesigned for working students so instruction for any extension course had to be offered once inthe evening for three hours per week, unlike normal undergraduate courses, which are offered forone hour three times per week. Synchronous distance learning was accomplished using aLearning Management System, with interactive virtual real time free software. Numerouschallenges arose, some were technical, and others created due to the skewed scheduling of maincampus students. Surveys of students, and faculty observations, frustrations, andrecommendations were evaluated. Then the Information Technology Department, theInstructional Designer, and the Engineering Dean helped either by ideas or financially inintroducing other alternatives, solutions. Once these solutions were in place, the same faculty,taught the course Thermal Design of Heat Exchangers to three groups. Interactive videoconferencing was used for one group, interactive real time using more reliable software, than theprevious used, was purchased and used for the second group; the third group were students onmain campus, who were allowed to attend either class. A Learning Management System wasused in conjunction with teaching the Thermal Design of Heat Exchangers for submittinghomework and posting of different handouts. In this article, the authors discuss the three casesfor live distance learning, the challenges faced with each, and comparisons between the threesystems and face-to-face teaching. Recommendations for improvements are given

Abdelmessih, A. N., & Gendelman, I. (2012, June), Synchronous Distance Learning for Undergraduate Thermal Engineering Courses: Trials and Improvements Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21981

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